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Councils in High Court over Heathrow noise

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A group of councils go to the High Court today (May 20) in a bid to win a reduction in the number of aircraft allowed to arrive at Heathrow before 6am.

Wandsworth LBC, Richmond upon Thames LBC, Windsor & Maidenhead RBC are challenging the government's night flight arrangements in 2005 after it was discovered that many of the planes flying at this time of day had been placed in the wrong noise category.

Lawyers for the councils will argue that, by declining to act on the discrepancy, the government failed in its duty to protect residents from excessive noise at night

Misclassified planes

The group claims that the transport secretary could have amended the quota system so that the misclassified 747s were placed in the correct noise category. This would have prevented them from being scheduled to fly into Heathrow before 6am.

There are around 16 early morning arrivals at Heathrow each day between 4.30am and 6am.

"The current Heathrow expansion plans will bring even more early morning flights in the period just after 6am. There are currently no controls at this time of day. If we win it could mean the government having to set limits for the first time at a time of day when many people are still asleep,"said Cllr Edward Lister (Con), the leader of Wandsworth LBC.

The current challenge is also supported by Kensington and Chelsea RBC, Hammersmith and Fulham LBC, Hounslow LBC, Lambeth LBC and Hillingdon LBC, all of whom are members of the 2M Group which opposes Heathrow expansion. The GLA also support the legal action.

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